Mother of drink-drive victim urges motorists not to consume alcohol before driving

Jane Evason's son Gareth was hit on May 3 1998 on Woodhill Lane by a car driven by a friend who was two-and-half times over the legal limit.

Promoting non-alcoholic drinks for drivers

She will be joined by Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service's Road safety Manager Mick Clarke at the Co-op in Kidlington High Street on Friday November 7 at 10am to promote non-alcoholic drinks as an alternative to alcohol for drivers and to mark the Think! anniversary.

There were 298 serious and slight injury casualties recorded in 1979 when records began in Oxfordshire caused by accidents involving drivers who failed a breath test or refused to take one, compared to fewer than 50 in 2013.

However deaths caused by accidents involving drivers who gave a positive breath test or refused one has remained steady annually in Oxfordshire over the past two decades, with 36 in total since 1994.

Effects of drink-driving on families

Mrs Evason said: "Gareth's brother, Neil is now married and has two beautiful boys which bring us such joy and help ease the pain a little, but Neil has no brother to share this with and the boys will never know their uncle.

"This is what drink-driving does to families - not just ours but hundreds others as well. It is 50 years since Think! launched their first campaign yet the message of not drinking and driving is still not getting through to some people.

"The only way people can be sure that the decisions they take when driving won't be impaired is by not having any alcohol before getting behind the wheel."

Don't drink and drive

Mr Clarke said: "The tragedy which happened to the Evason family is a stark reminder of the dangers associated with drink-driving. While it is of course encouraging that over recent years numbers of accidents caused by drink-driving have fallen locally, unfortunately there are still those who get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, and the numbers of people killed on Oxfordshire's roads has remained stubbornly consistent over recent years.

"It is essential that people also know that the effects of alcohol can still last into morning after a drinking session and it is vital not to get caught out if people plan to drive to work or take the children to school."

Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who has Cabinet responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: "There are myths about how drinking coffee, sleeping or taking a shower can reduce the effects of alcohol on a person's body: these simply are not true. Time is the only way of getting alcohol of the body.

"The simple message is that if people know they are going to be driving, then don't drink alcohol - have a soft drink instead, or if they do have an alcoholic drink, get a taxi or a bus home: taking such decisions could prevent loss of life."

Alcohol levels in drinks

The effect on a person of consuming alcohol varies, but on average it takes about an hour for the human body to rid itself of each unit of alcohol, starting from the time that the final drink has been finished.

  • On average, consuming three 15% alcohol 250ml glasses of wine could mean people would not be safe to drive for 13 hours after finishing their last drink
  • Four pints of 5% alcohol beer or lager on average may mean that a person is not safe to drive for 13 hours after finishing their last drink
  • Three 70ml 40% shots of a spirit consumed may mean on average that a person would not be safe to drive for eight-and-a-half hours after finishing their last drink


Those unsure about how long it may take for alcohol to leave the body can find out more via the drinks clock website or by viewing the 365alive drink-driving awareness page. 365alive is a Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service initiative designed to make the county safer via education and preventative work.

This year's Think! public information film is called 'Celebrate', which will be released online in November.